`Direct Drive - Unlike chain- and belt-driven systems, where the motor remains stationary while moving a chain, a direct drive motor moves while the chain stays in place. Because of this, the only moving part is the gear the motor uses to move while lifting the door. To our knowledge, only one company makes direct drive garage door openers: Sommer. The company claims the motors are more efficient and quieter than any other type of opener. However, this is the most expensive type of opener we’ve found, costing around $286 on average.`

Reduce your monthly energy bill with insulated garage doors. They feature an insulated core made of polystyrene that’s surrounded by a steel cover. This can help you maintain the temperature inside your home no matter if it’s extremely hot or cold outdoors. Insulated garage doors are also known for their quiet operation. Be sure to look at the insulation rating – or R-value – when considering garage doors. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.

*Trading diameter for length: Observe that in the spring rate formula in the table above, factors D (diameter of coils) and N (number of coils) appear together in the denominator of the spring rate formula. Algebraically, given equal wire sizes, this means that the product of the coil diameter and overall length produces the spring torque, not the diameter or length alone. Physically, this means that you can trade off torsion spring coil diameter versus overall length in inverse proportions to maintain the same torque rate. Trade-off example: A spring with 2-inch diameter coils that is 36 inches long equals a 1.5-inch diameter spring that is 48 inches long, because the product in both cases is 72 (inches squared). This assumes that wire size is equal in the trade-off, and that you have not counted dead coils in the length. Service technicians use this principle to make quick substitutions for what's on their truck versus what you need. But if you understand this, you're ahead of many technicians who don't know this trick. Maybe now you can educate the next one you hire.*

The Insignia HomeKit garage door setup is cheaper in most instances than a similar setup from Chamberlain, which can range anywhere from $70 to $170 depending on what you need. Insignia’s offering launched quietly sometime this month and retails for $69.99, though it’s currently on sale for $44.99. If you want to get a general idea of the setup process, you can view the full manual right here.

# Depending on the type and location of the damage you might have an alternative to replacing panels, or entire garage doors. One solution to give new life to your garage door is repair. Small dents, rot, rust or holes can be repair without replacing. Depending on what wrong with the panel, average prices for repair are $130 for steel door repairs, $190 for wood, $170 for aluminum and $150 for fiberglass. Garage door panel repair can save homeowners money, but should be weighed against garage door panel replacment.

### Customers who have purchased this garage door opener for their homes have been mostly satisfied with the performance of it. Many have raved about how quiet it actually is—one said instead of hearing the metal squeak and clank like with their last one, only the sound of the “wooden door being jostled around as it is pulled up and down” is all you hear with this one. Customers were also happy with the features including the automatic closer when you forget to shut it after you go inside. Some had had issues with the manual being hard to understand while installing it themselves. But most were happy with the overall performance.

The torsion shaft with lift drums on the ends is above the door. The standard residential door shaft is a 1-inch outside diameter hollow steel tube. The inside diameters of the bearings, drums, and winding cones are sized to loosely fit that 1-inch diameter shaft. At the center is a bearing plate, on either side of which are the torsion springs, or in some cases just one larger spring. The spring pictured on the left in the photo is broken about 1/4 of the way in from its left end. The black shaft with dangling rope and door bracket is the track for the electric opener.

**Trading wire size for length, diameter, or cycle life: Now we are really going to save you some money, if you just recall your high school algebra class (and I don't mean that cute cheerleader who sat next to you). If you further understand the role of the 4th power of the spring wire size (letter d in the formulas above) in the numerator of the spring rate formula, and how to increase or decrease d to compensate for changes in length, diameter, and cycle life, then you're qualified for elite spring calculations. Matching springs is a matter of equating the 4th power of the proportion in wire size change to the proportion of change in the diameter or length or the product of both diameter and length. However, it is usually best to only increase wire size when substituting a spring, since this does not derate the cycle life. If you observe that the formula for bending stress is proportionate to the inverse 3rd power of the diameter, then physically a proportionate increase in wire size will result in a dramatic increase in cycle life of the 3rd power of that proportion. Trade-off example: Yawn with me while we ponder my original spring once more. Let's say I was in a fit of engineering mania, and wanted to replace my spring having a 0.2253 inch diameter wire (d = 0.2253) with a 0.262 wire version (d = 0.262). How much longer is the spring with equal torque rate, assuming we use the same coil diameter? The proportion of this change is 0.262/0.2253 = 1.163, and the 4th power of that is 1.83. This means the length must increase by a factor of 1.83 (again, not counting dead coils). Recalling that the length in Example 1 was 102 non-dead coils, the heavier wire spring must be about 1.83*102 = 187 coils, which when adding 5 dead coils and multiplying by the wire size to get the overall length, is (187+5)*0.262 = 50 inches, versus 24 inches in the original. So using this heavier wire more than doubles the length (and thus the mass and thus the cost). While the cost about doubles, the stress goes down by the inverse 3rd power of the wire size proportion, or 1/(1.163**3) = 0.64. Sress is favorably, non-linearly related to cycle lifetime (halving the stress more than doubles the lifetime), so this decreased stress should more than double the expected lifetime of the spring. While the up-front cost is more, the true cost of an amortized lifetime is much less. In short, per cycle it is cheaper. Ah, the wonders of engineering calculations! Conclusion: Observe that the stress formula (and thus the cycle lifetime) depends only on wire diameter (d) for equal torques. Thus the only way to improve cycle lifetime is to use heavier wire. For equal torques, heavier wire size, due to the exponents in the formulas, increases cycle lifetime much faster than it increases mass (and thus cost), physically speaking.**

Since 2015, we’ve tested a variety of devices such as smart locks, video doorbells, DIY home security systems, thermostats and more. We use these testing experiences to inform our evaluations of other equipment. As time and resources allow, we occasionally test new types of products, but there are still some circumstances where we’re unable to conduct in-house tests. When testing isn’t possible, we conduct thorough research using the same standards we apply to our in-house tests – this is the case with smart garage door openers. We’ve reviewed garage door openers since 2011.